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DF Interview: A retired hitman’s past comes back to haunt him in Ed Brisson’s The Last Contract
By Byron Brewer
A retired hitman is forced back into the game when a list of his kills is leaked. The list makes targets out of anyone associated with one of his previous jobs, not to mention the retired hitman himself. Will he discover the truth about his blackmailer before someone else executes a contract on him?
The Last Contract is a suspenseful thriller from BOOM! Studios by writer Ed Brisson and artist Lisandro Estherren. To learn more about this book, Dynamic Forces recently sat down with scribe Ed Brisson.
Dynamic Forces: Ed, tell us the genesis of this book. How did it come to be?
Ed Brisson: The germ of the idea was just this idea of telling the story of a retired hitman -- not movie “retired”, but real-life, in his 80s retired. I started developing the idea around that central premise and building it out from there, bouncing ideas off Eric and Cam (our editors on the book) as we wrote.
Once we got rolling, Eric and Cam were the ones who suggested Lisandro Estherren, who’s … damn … just a perfect fit for this book. When they sent me his portfolio, I flipped out. He’s got this amazing European sensibility to his art. His acting and layouts are incredible.
Niko Guardia, who did amazing work on Hit, is on board to complete the team. Really, really happy to have him on board.
DF: Is the crime thriller genre one of your favorites to work in? It certainly sounds like this miniseries will be anything BUT dull.
Ed Brisson: Absolutely. When I was first trying to break into the industry, I was pitching crime books to publishers, but because I hadn’t established myself as a creator, no publisher was willing to take the chance. So, I started self-publishing my own series, Murder Book, which was a collection of short crime stories. That series lead to me getting work at Image and other publishers, but it was still a few years before I was able to convince a publisher to let me do a longer crime series.
DF: Is there any particular literature, etc. from which you got your inspiration for The Last Contract?
Ed Brisson: The inspiration for The Last Contract actually came from a place; well, a couple of places. When we’re able to, the family and I like to get away to smaller coastal communities here in British Columbia. Cumberland (which is a setting in TLC) and Sechelt are two communities where I’d love to live one day. It was while I was in Sechelt, which is a big retirement community, that I started to develop the idea for The Last Contract. What if a hitman moved to a smaller community like this and lived a quiet life before being pulled back into the life?
DF: Tell us about the storyline for the mini.
Ed Brisson: The story is about a retired hitman referred to simply as The Man. He’s off, living a quiet life on Vancouver Island, when he’s violently pulled back into the life that he’s left behind. After a failed attempt on his life, The Man sets off on a cross country trip to find out who’s trying to kill him and why. Things that he’s tried to keep buried bubble to the surface and he’s forced to face the consequences of his past actions.
DF: Who is “The Man,” from your perspective as a writer?
Ed Brisson: He’s a man who’s made a lot of mistakes and is living in a self-imposed exile. As mentioned earlier, he’s 80 and he wears every year heavily. He’s an alcoholic (can’t have an ex-hitman who’s not an alcoholic) who’s starting to show signs of Alzheimer’s and whose wits are starting to fail him.
I wanted to tell a story about a man whose body is starting to fail him. I didn’t want to tell a story about a Liam Neeson-style action story. Instead, The Man is more cunning, although is slowly losing the ability to.
DF: This is more than just a noir thriller then. You also have a great mystery here in the identity of the blackmailer.
Ed Brisson: Yep. No spoilers from me, though! People are going to have to follow along to find out who’s giving the screws to The Man.
DF: How did artist Lisandro Estherren do in translating your script to paper, since the mood of these types of tales lies chiefly with the artist?
Ed Brisson: Lisandro did incredible. He was responsible for the design of all the characters and the overall look of the book. His acting, staging, everything. He adds a lot to the scripts -- occasionally dropping in additional panels and really pushing the smaller moments in the scripts.
DF: Ed, what other projects current or near-future might you be working on?
Ed Brisson: Right now, I’m writing a few issues of Batman & Robin Eternal for DC Comics (issues #11, 12, 17 and 18). That’s been a lot of fun -- it’s my first DC work and I’m thrilled to be working in the Batman offices.
I’ve also just released another creator-owned book through Image called The Violent. Adam Gorham (co-creator and artist) and I are telling a story about two down and out ex-drug addicts who’re trying to make it in a city that seems hell bent on keeping them down. Issue #1 just dropped a couple of weeks ago.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Ed Brisson for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. The Last Contract #1 hits stores January 6th!
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